2018 marks our 21st year of proudly and passionately marketing barrels and tanks to the North American wine industry, and we thank all of our customers for your trust and support through the years!
It is hard to reflect back on 2017 and not think first about the tragic fires and mudslides up and down the coast of California, as well as the fire and smoke problems in Oregon, Washington and BC. Our hearts are with those who lost homes and property, or worse. We also realize that winemaking had to be extraordinarily challenging this year for the above reasons and others like the Labor Day heat wave in California. So, as we start the sales campaign and look forward to visiting many of you, we certainly hope and pray that 2018 avoids this type of tragedy and problem. For our part, we’ll just plan on moving forward as usual with our artisan cooperages and their fine barrels, as well as with the vibrant market for large format fermentation and maturation vessels. You’ll find in our catalog our
typical wide range of barrels and casks from three to 10,000 Liters.
Going to Unified? Please visit us at Unified on January 24th-25th, 2018, Sacramento Convention Center, Booth # 1035, ground floor level.
Going to the Oregon Wine Symposium? Please visit us at Unified on February 20th-21st, 2018, Portland Convention Center,
Booth # 254, main exhibit hall.
Going to WAWWG in Washington ? Please visit us on February 6th-7th at Three Rivers Convention Center & Toyota Center, Booth#43
News for the 2018 Vintage:
We are pleased at the continued success of our Artisan Barrels Selection French oak range. Both styles of Bordeaux barrel, Fire Bent and Steam Bent, have maintained parity in popularity, and it remains very interesting to taste them side by side. There is a 15-20 Euros increase in their price this year, which is on the lower side of what most coopers seem to be doing this year: 2-3% for the most part, so 20-35 Euros. Please see the updated and increased reference list in the back of our catalog--you’ll notice an even greater range this year of wineries from all over North America using our proprietary barrels.
Unfortunately, we’ve felt it necessary to discontinue selling the Artisan Barrels Selection Russian oak barrels. The difficulties in importing them in a safe and timely manner have just been too great---we realize that consistency in quality and timing of arrival are key values for you, our clients; and we couldn’t guarantee this with the Russian oak barrels.
Similarly, we’ve decided to make a change in the sourcing of our Artisan Barrels Selection Hungarian oak barrels. The same type concerns about consistency with, specifically, late barrel arrivals have spurred us to develop a relationship with a different Hungarian cooper. We are very excited at this new offering; and have some great improvements from the start: 100% three year seasoned wood, improved “fit and finish,” and free custom stenciling on the head. We are expecting revitalized growth with these fine Hungarian oak barrels, priced at $700 as well as Hybrid French (65%)/Hungarian (35%) priced at $790. Unfortunately, this does mean that we will no longer be able to offer Acacia barrels from Hungary (but Rousseau does make excellent quality 228L Acacia barrels).
Rousseau Cooperage has recently introduced a couple new, exciting products: the 1000L “Mini-Cask” as seen at the last couple year’s trade shows; and a new series of special and limited famous forest sourced barrels called the Hexagone Series. The Rousseau 1000L “Mini-Cask” is sized between the more traditional 600L Demi-Muid and 13HL Cask. Large enough to be fully outfitted with the hatches and valves of a full-sized cask, but small enough to be more affordable as well as convenient for smaller cellars, it is designed for winemakers who may want to experiment with larger format winemaking before making the move to a full-sized cask. The new Hexagone Series Barrel is a limited-edition barrel made from tight-grained oak from specific historical French forests. The barrel head will have a special etching with the forest location marked on the “Hexagone” shaped map of France. The forest will change every year, offering the winemaker a historical and organoleptic “Tour de France” over time. The series will start this year with the Rambouillet forest, the historical French Royal hunting grounds.
We continue to add showcase wineries with boutique stainless steel tanks produced by Lejeune from St-Emilion, France. We can now direct you to fantastic installations from Walla Walla, Washington all the way down to the Central Coast of California, with an especially impressive concentration in Napa ordered by reputed consulting winemakers. Lejeune is a small firm that has been designing and manufacturing top-end, innovative, even artistic tanks since 1975. From compartmentalized and variable capacity, to truncated and conical, and even a reverse-truncated “Expansion” tank, the range and sheer style of these tanks is amazing. Because of high demand and limited supply, late fall/early winter (the previous calendar year) ordering is necessary, however.
With Nomblot Concrete Tanks, we’re coming off another year of very strong sales. Because of the popularity of its all-natural concrete formula (certified Food Grade by the French Wine Institute), Nomblot will no doubt sell out early again this year. So, as always, VERY early ordering is necessary.
We will continue to offer a refined range of top quality stainless steel accessories and tools from Bellot, with a focus on tank accessories, gaskets and parts. We also offer Deproma's popular barrel bilge red stain and tanks/casks varnish.
The Oak Cooperage (formerly A&K Cooperage) is fully settled in as the brand and logo for the cooperage now fully owned by Silver Oak Cellars since 2015. They have continued to rebuild the stave wood inventory, and for 2018 they continue to produce a limited amount of Tribute Series (Baccus) barrels with 36 month wood ($30 surcharge). Also good news: log pricing has stayed stable, and there will be no price increase again this year, so we’re confident that The Oak Cooperage barrels will continue to be very competitively priced among American oak producers.
A quick note about shipping: more and more barrel shippers are refusing to invoice wineries directly, and instead are insisting on invoicing us. This is mainly happening in the Pacific Northwest and in the Central Coast/Southern California. We’ll inform you if this affects you, and of course we will only ever pass on the exact cost of the shipping bill given to us by the trucking company.
Our Office and Sales Team is nicely settled and consistent for 2018: Tina Milliken will continue this year as Office Manager, and Nicole Merciari will continue to manage logistics and marketing. This year Gerhard Ziemer starts his eleventh season covering service and sales all over North America, from his home base in Seattle, Washington. Jerome Aubin is of course overseeing the whole operation, as well as seeing his clients like usual: the Artisan Barrels and Tanks team is energized and ready to go!
Emphasizing service and a dedication to better wine ageing, Artisan Barrels will continue to provide the highest quality oak, concrete and stainless steel tanks, and fine oak barrels: all reflecting an “artisanal” philosophy and approach. Since visiting wineries and tasting are essential to assess the impact of oak barrels and tanks on your wines, we look forward to evaluating the 2017 barrels and tanks with you.
We wish you all the best for the 2018 vintage!
Artisan Barrels & Tanks team: Jerome Aubin, Gerhard Ziemer, Tina Milliken, Nicole Merciari